ECLECTIC ARTS

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

YOU WANT A THIGH OR A LEG? AL1CE Chapter II Virtual Tour Thoughts September 30, 2020


You Want A Thigh or A Leg? Leg II of the INSIDE/Out Virtual Tour With AL1CE



8/19/2020


Good evening!  Welcome to al1ce.tv!   This is the Inside Out Virtual Tour with AL1CE - Chapter II.  I have this basic introduction tattooed in my brain.


I was not inspired to write during this second leg of the tour. No real reason - but I learned that when I’m not inspired, I shouldn’t try to force it just for the sake of writing something. But today - I was writing film reviews and I think that got my writing juices flowing. We’ll see where this leads.


My random memories from this second leg:


*Booking the guests was the toughest that it’s been! I think it being in the heart of Summer had a little to do with it. I think pandemic burnout had more to do with it. And I think folks that work for certain artists had something else to do with it, too. All I know is that I had a ton of movement to work around with artists schedules, wanting certain days, changing their minds about certain days, pre-record requests instead of live, and other assorted things. I am happy with all of the guests - don’t get me wrong. But certain days were pegged to be filled with one guest that at the last minute turned into a different guest. And this seemed to happen almost daily with some new wrinkle I had to iron out. And the end result is that I ended up overbooked - which I try to avoid at all costs as it looks unprofessional. Those obligations are being met right now with the current post-tour interviews I have scheduled. A few others, that weren’t locked down yet, are hopefully moving to October. I’m already following up with some of those guests about the Fall opportunity.


*The Fun Table - Rounds I and II (and III but that was not technically a part of the tour). They got better as they went along. It’s interesting that in a much more casual arena, other factors have to be considered. The first being some of the artists have very real and large followings (socials and in real life) - they can’t be as open as they’d like to be as it could come back to bite them - which I understand. In reality the same could bite me too but I don’t give a shit.


The second being some people just aren’t comfortable talking about certain topics. Again, no problem - I don’t discuss politics during these (maybe indirectly a comment will come out) - so I get it. No sex questions - no problem.


Third it shows people in a new environment and how they react. I am typically an introvert. So, depending on my mood, I may engage with more than one person at, for example, a business meeting. But, in other cases, I may not engage at all. The Tea Times are good examples, too. Sometimes I’m in the mood to listen, other times I’m ready to ramble. By the time the fourth Fun Table happened after the tour - I felt we hit what I was initially looking for - getting people to talk with each other (and me), not me dictating things. Wade and Mike both chirped up many times during their session. We’ll see where these go. I really enjoy doing them.


*This is a lot of work - haha. I already knew this but as I’ve described to publicists and others what I’ve been doing on this tour (since May) - their reactions helped me really realize just how much work has been going into these shows (overall of course).


*I lost my perspective more than I usually do. I could blame this on pandemic-brain or squishy brain but I know I can do better. I got a little snarky during this leg of the tour. I don’t know if it came out on air but it came out in other areas. I will do better because I’m now consciously aware of it.


*I was constantly thinking about my upcoming day job obligations - some of those were being texted to me DURING my interviews. There’s a little BTS information for ya! Yes, I could turn off my notifications but I figured - it’s like an hour long window - from tech to preshow to livestream. How many texts could I get during that time (and it’s at, for the most part, 7pm PDT)? A lot, apparently. If I could afford a different device to stream from, believe me, I would. Future purchase when I can afford to do so - maybe next year heh.


*I can usually rattle off the list of guests right off the top of my head. Right now - certain ones I remember for sure - Emma comes to mind, Life Is Easy folks, Nichole, Blaise, and the Fun Tables. If I really sit here and think about it I can rattle off all of them - but it’s odd to me that I can’t do it immediately. That’s a major difference between the first leg and the interim shows and then this leg. Probably because I have too much in my head about day job obligations.


*The last hour long set that AL1CE played on the 13th was damn near perfect. It was one of those performances where everything seems to be clicking. I don’t know how the band felt about it but from my fan point of view - it was on another level.


*There’s a lot of generosity and understanding amongst the AL1CE fans. I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned a road/plane trip is in order to LA - once it’s safe to do so. It would be great to meet everyone in person!


*I did my best to shorten the heck out of my show intros so I could do the guest intros and then get right to the interview. I spent too many minutes on the first leg talking about things when I should have been maximizing my interview time with the guests. I feel good about this change.


*I’m happy that Paper Nova got an offer to join a show and that they accepted. We talk all the time about networking, connections, and opportunities. I know so many people that miss out on opportunities that are right in front of them (including me - all of you know I had to think before committing to this tour back in May *shaking my head at myself*). It’s that old adage you can lead a horse to water….glad they decided to drink. ;)


Yeah, that’s about all I got right now. I may leave this and see if anything else comes to mind before publishing it.


8/23/2020


What a very full week in terms of Eclectic Arts. I just finished the interview with The Warning from Mexico. It was a major success but a little bittersweet.


In general I am always looking to see how I can grow Eclectic Arts. It is not my main focus but I am aware of the numbers (publicists always ask for them) and when I can bring more exposure to EA and/or AL1CE - I am going to try to do so.


With the shows with AL1CE - I tried to bring Danny Koker’s fan base over to the interview. I tried to bring Jake Shimabukuro’s fan base over to the interview. Neither were what I would deem as successful. Jake’s numbers doubled during my interview as it streamed but it wasn’t even a fraction of what I had hoped for.


So, the interview today I was trying to schedule during the AL1CE shows. I had a feeling their fan base would translate to views of the live-stream. Sure enough - as soon as I posted about the upcoming interview, I was getting likes, follows, and even new subscribers to my social media channels.


When we went live - the fans were already in the YouTube chat. We ended up with nearly 600 views combined on the three platforms during the livestream and two hours later we’re over 1000 views combined. Positive comments about the interview being one of the best ones done with the band, the interviewer did his homework, etc., etc. My socials have all increased by 30-50 new people. Of course that makes me feel great but man do I wish this had happened with the AL1CE shows - to bring more exposure to one of my favorite bands. Hopefully - next time I can get things to line up so something similar happens on the next tour. I want more people to know about AL1CE!


9/30/2020


I did not forget about this half done report. I just never got around to adding to it. For whatever reason, I find myself on this Wednesday evening in the mood to finish it.


Chapter II of the virtual tour feels like it was a looooong time ago. I think the fact that I’ve been continuing virtual events is one of the main reasons. I’m very happy that the guests that I couldn’t fit into the tour dates were able to happen in August and even early September.


Random thoughts:


*We are one week out from Chapter III starting.

*This Saturday will be The Fun Table Sessions - Round XI. I’ve been having a lot of fun (no pun intended) doing these. Each of them has their own flavor and they’ve really taken on a life of their own. With the pandemic still keeping me alone more than I’d like, the conversation once a week is a nice thing to look forward to. And I absolutely love it when the guests get on with each other. I am more than happy to sit back with my drink and just be a fly on the wall.


*I have reached out to a good number of guests for the upcoming Chapter III. None are scheduled except for one - which was just confirmed about two hours ago. I am waiting for one guest to get back to me which is holding up some dates. But, the others, I’m going to start booking tomorrow.


*Back to Chapter II. It’s funny how my pending day job obligations back then we’re taking up so much of my time and thoughts. I’m now starting a totally different survival job and I feel good about it. Much better than I felt about things back in August. The schedule will still work with the Chapter III tour dates so that was a big plus.


*I know why I felt like writing tonight - Chapter III is starting next week - duh. This chapter was unfinished so - yeah - here I am…


*Numbers have been brought up recently. 62 virtual interviews (since May 22) and counting. 55 film reviews (since April 17) and definitely counting. By the time we reach the end of 2020, the virtual interview number will probably be in the 80’s is my guess. Maybe 90’s - depending on how interested I am in doing more of them during late November and all of December. Virtual Christmas anyone? And the film review number will probably increase by 20 or so - maybe more. I have a few more to do right now but not the big long list like a month ago.


*This is really more about what’s going on now and what's coming up than Chapter II of the tour. Oh well.


*Last thoughts about Chapter II. I have not re-watched those interviews - other than short segments for social media purposes. Interesting fact that I just thought of now. Hmm - I wonder why that is? Each chunk of shows has its own feel to me now that I look back on them. Chapter I, the Interim Shows, and Chapter II.


I wonder what Chapter III will look like once I can look back on that leg in, say, November or December?


As always - thanks for reading these ramblings. I think I may start another one just to write about what’s been going on lately and what’s coming up. Take good care!

Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  HERE!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

THE RINGMASTER Film Review September 29, 2020


The Ringmaster

Reviewed: 9/29/2020
1091 Pcitures
Rating: 4 / 5


On Digital and On Demand: October 6, 2020



(The Ringmaster - 1091 Pictures)



I love onion rings. So, when I saw there was a documentary about my beloved golden fried rings, I was intrigued. What I got was much more than the deliciousness of one of my favorite fried foods.


“The Ringmaster” is a documentary within a documentary. A new film maker Zachary Capp sets out to document the legend of Larry Lang, a humble man who lives in a small town in Minnesota, who has the reputation for making the best onion rings in the land.


There are mistakes early on from Zachary - the initial idea of a food variety show changes into a documentary about Larry. Any artist will tell you that many times what you start with isn’t what you end with.


Where things get particularly messy is when there is dissension in Zachary’s team of creatives. And when Larry really shows that he isn’t interested in this project. He just wants to live his life like he’s been doing for decades.



(The Ringmaster - 1091 Pictures)



The film depicts all the ups and downs, to the point where the audience feels bad for both the filmmaker and the subject.


Zachary’s heart is in the right place for much of the film but he is also his own worst enemy. He doesn’t know when to leave well enough alone (something I can relate to) and it begins to blind him. He brings in new creatives to help finish the film and as time has passed, it hasn’t been kind to Larry (or his sister that moved back in with him).


Without giving too much away regarding the ending, let’s just say it’s heartbreaking for all parties involved.


You really couldn’t write a script like this - life really is stranger than fiction. In “The Ringmaster”, what was captured turned into a compelling story of a filmmaker and an onion ring master that takes more turns than a rollercoaster.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


TRAILER



INVINCIBLE DRAGON Film Review September 29, 2020


Invincible Dragon

Reviewed: 9/29/2020
Well Go USA
Rating: 2 / 5

On Blu Ray, Digital, and On Demand: October 6, 2020


(Well Go USA)


I remember reading a few interviews with some of the classic Hong Kong directors from the 1980’s and 1990’s. They mentioned that many times, their scripts were never written when they started filming or they even wrote them on the fly as they worked. If you’ve been a fan of Asian cinema from that time period to now, you know what they say is very true. Sometimes that approach can lend itself to the final product - a zany, crazy film that is unique and interesting. Other times, it produces a cinematic mess that cannot be saved regardless of the talent involved.


“Invisible Dragon” unfortunately falls into the latter category. Starring Max Zhang and Anderson Silva, the story is just a diluted mess from the get go. A killer is after police officers and Max Zhang’s character is on the hunt in Macau. Anderson Silva’s character is not what it seems and I’ll leave the plot at that (so as to not giveaway spoilers).



(Max Zhang and Anderson Silva in Invincible Dragon from Well Go USA)



The film looks top notch - minus the ending fight sequence where the CGI gets away from the visual effects team. Max Zhang also looks good in the fight scenes as one would expect - and his English speaking lines were delivered quite well.


Anderson Silva is a MMA champion. His acting reflects that. Typically, when a sports world talent crosses over to the movie world, they struggle in their dialogue scenes but shine in their fight scenes. Anderson is imposing on screen but his fight scenes didn’t mesh well with Max’s style of fighting. He probably needs to be put against another MMA type fighter in a film to increase the impact of the fight scenes.


“Invincible Fighter” could have been a good Asian action film but instead it's an unfortunate missed opportunity.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


TRAILER



Monday, September 28, 2020

TAHARA Film Review September 28, 2020


Tahara

Reviewed: 9/28/2020
Rating: 2.5 / 5





“Tahara” is a coming of age film that centers around best friends Carrie and Hannah, who share a kiss which opens up many questions, all the while at their peers funeral.


The film explores sexuality themes as well as themes that teenagers deal with on a regular basis.


The film had its moments that were very genuine and made me think about what I would do in that situation. But it also had scenes that plodded along and I found myself losing focus at times.


The performances by the leads Madeline Grey DeFreece and Rachel Sennot were superb. I enjoyed their takes on their respective characters and they were a joy to watch perform.


Overall, the film was hit and miss for me. I liked the topics that it tackled but the execution could have been sharper.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


CLIP


KEYBOARD FANTASIES : THE BEVERLY-GLENN COPELAND STORY Film Review September 28, 2020


Keyboard Fantasies : The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story

Reviewed: 9/23/2020
Luca Productions
Rating: 4.5 / 5


(Luca Productions)



Every now and then a documentary comes along that is compelling from beginning to end. “Keyboard Fantasies - The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story” is one such film.


The film tells the story of Beverly Copeland, a young musician that released a series of albums in the 80’s and beyond, featuring a love of folk music, civil rights, and computers. As she continued her journey as an openly gay artist, she came to realize that she was transgendered.


As Glenn Copeland he has found a new audience, both queer and straight. His music also found an audience in Japan where an eventual resurgence in demand created new musical opportunities as his old catalog was repressed.


Tours followed, even though that was not his priority, and a connection with a new audience continued his pursuit of musical inspiration as well as being an ongoing political activist for transgendered people.



(Luca Productions)



“Keyboard Fantasies - The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story” is a fascinating look at a pioneer in a scene that had no other peers at the time. A classically trained black born female identified musician that went to college in Canada as an openly gay lesbian. As he stated in the film, he had no social circle in college due to his openness as a lesbian. The realization that he was transgendered finally felt right. He and his wife (a long time friend) continued their activism for all diverse populations, not just transgendered or queer.


I found the film inspirational, another reminder that it is always better to be yourself than to try to conform to something you’re not. Anyone can relate to that universal theme. Worth watching.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


TRAILER


THE GREAT AMERICAN LIE Film Review September 28, 2020


The Great American Lie

Reviewed: 9/23/2020
Vertical Entertainment
Rating: 4 / 5


On Digital and On Demand: October 2, 2020


(Vertical Entertainment)



The documentary, “The Great American Lie”, studies the centuries long bias toward gender, people of color, and economic status in the United States.


With the world upside down in 2020, this film could not be more poignant or educational.


The film follows five different individuals ranging from a school principal, a lawyer, a steel worker, a social justice advocate, and a conservative woman from the South. Each story shows the struggles that are unique to each person and their community. 



(Public school principal Ruby De Tie in the documentary THE GREAT AMERICAN LIE, a Vertical Entertainment release. Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment.)  



There is commentary from a variety of educational, journalistic, and legal experts about the history of inequality and what it looks like in the present day.


If you are set in your ways and already have a predetermined opinion about the topic, then this film will only enrage you that much further. However, if you’re open minded enough to listen to the information being presented, you may find yourself asking questions that you never thought you would.



((L-R) Filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom and social justice activist Saru Jayaraman in the documentary THE GREAT AMERICAN LIE, a Vertical Entertainment release. Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment.)



“The Great American Lie” is an interesting documentary about a topic that continues to bring out the best (and the worst) in the American people. Worth watching.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


TRAILER





DEATH OF ME Film Review September 28, 2020


Death Of Me

Reviewed: 9/28/2020
Saban Films
Rating: 3 / 5

Death Of Me - In Theatres, on Demand and Digital on October 2, 2020.


(Death Of Me - a Saban Film release.)



I was looking forward to this thriller/horror film release starring Maggie Q. and Luke Hemsworth. The story revolves around a couple vacationing/on assignment on an island off the coast of Thailand.


Christine (Maggie Q) and her husband Neil (Luke Hemsworth) awake one morning not knowing what had happened the night before. Through evidence in Neil’s camera and via flashbacks, scenarios start to develop and unfold that neither of them remember.


The storyline gets more and more involved as the movie continues where the audience doesn’t really know what is real and what isn’t. The final reveal is partially satisfying as it answers some of the film's earlier plot questions but not all of them.



((L-R) Maggie Q as Christine and Luke Hemsworth as Neil in the horror / thriller, “DEATH OF ME,” a Saban Films release. Photo Courtesy of Saban Films.)



The best part of the film is Maggie Q’s performance. Her character’s anxiety builds and builds as things get more and more out of hand. She approaches the role with common sense which makes it easier to digest.


The beautiful locations really helped the film in terms of the visuals. The storyline started interestingly enough but then dissolved into a hard to follow maze of subplots and flashbacks that just added to the confusion. 



(Maggie Q as Christine in the horror / thriller, “DEATH OF ME,” a Saban Films release. Photo Courtesy of Saban Films.)
 


There were enough elements present in “Death Of Me” to make a solid if not great film. However, those elements weren’t used to the best effect and therefore it fell a bit short.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


TRAILER





2067 Film Review September 28, 2020


2067

Reviewed: 9/28/2020
RLJE Films
Rating: 4 / 5

2067 In Theatres, on Demand and Digital on October 2, 2020.


("2067" - a RLJE Films release)


The science fiction realm in cinema can be a tricky beast to conquer. The suspension of disbelief comes into play as does the budget to create a futuristic world that is believable. In “2067” - both boxes are checked and then some.


The film tackles the subject of climate change and control, showing a future where oxygen is at a premium. Due to an issue where the synthetic version of oxygen is killing the world's population, the main character Ethan Whyte is selected to go back in time to find the solution.


There are personal reasons for Ethan to find a cure as well as an explanation to what happened to his parents. But I won’t give those away here.


Kodi Smit-McPhee plays Ethan and initially I wasn’t sold on his performance. But as the storyline developed, his character became more believable and his acting really came to the forefront. 



(Kodi Smit-McPhee as Ethan Whyte in the sci-fi thriller, 2067, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films).
 


I got a bit confused at times with the storyline but that’s more me than the screenplay. There are a lot of details going on (much like any sci-fi movie) but the main gist of the story was easy to follow.


By the climax, the emotional weight is evident and I found myself completely captivated with the storyline.


“2067” asks many questions and answers them quite frequently which was refreshing. How many times does a film pose a cryptic question or scenario never to answer it. This film is not like that.



(Deborah Mailman as Regina Jackson in the sci-fi thriller, 2067, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.)



I found “2067” to be an enjoyable ride that walks the line between characterization and science fiction themes perfectly.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!



TRAILER 







Wednesday, September 23, 2020

THE FILM REVIEWS COLLECTION - From April 17, 2020 through September 23, 2020 Eclectic Arts





Greetings,

I have been so very fortunate to review advance film releases from a variety of quality film studios and distributors. Thank you to Lionsgate, Magnolia Pictures, Magnet Releasing, IFC Films, Saban Films, RLJE Films, Vertical Entertainment, Breaking Glass Pictures, Level 33 Entertainment, 1091 Pictures, Well Go USA, Cinema Guild, and a few other independent companies.

We are nearing 50 reviews written during the 2020 pandemic. Here they are in one handy post for easy reading. Thank you for your support and see you (eventually) at the theater!

Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts here:  Social Media Links Here!


***


Dead
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/09/dead-film-review-september-23-2020.html



The Legend of Tomiris
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/09/the-legend-of-tomiris-film-review.html


Rialto
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/09/rialto-film-review-september-22-2020.html


Alone
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/09/alone-film-review-september-15-2020.html


Extra Innings
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/09/extra-innings-film-review-september-15.html


Evil Boy
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/09/evil-boy-film-review-september-1-2020.html


Musical Comedy Whore
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/09/musical-comedy-whore-film-review.html


The Owners
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/09/the-owners-film-review-september-1-2020.html


Ghost Tropic
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/ghost-tropic-film-review-august-28-2020.html


The Terrible Adventure
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-terrible-adventure-film-review.html


Robin's Wish
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/robins-wish-film-review-august-25-2020.html


Troop 491 - The Adventures of the Muddy Lions
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/troop-491-adventures-of-muddy-lions.html


Hard Kill
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/hard-kill-film-review-august-19-2020.html


The Pale Door
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-pale-door-film-review-august-19-2020.html


Pretending I'm Superman - The Tony Hawk Video Game Story
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/pretending-im-superman-tony-hawk-video.html


Spree
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/spree-film-review-august-11-2020.html


The Silencing
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-silencing-film-review-august-9-2020.html


Valley Of The Gods
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/valley-of-gods-film-review-august-7-2020.html


Out Stealing Horses
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/out-stealing-horses-film-review-august.html


The Tax Collector
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-tax-collector-film-review-august-3.html


Day 13
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/day-13-film-review-august-3-2020.html


Beast No More
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/08/beast-no-more-film-review-august-3-2020.html


House Of Hummingbird
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/07/house-of-hummingbird-film-review-7282020.html


The Fight
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/07/the-fight-film-review-7272020.html


The Shadow Of Violence
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/07/the-shadow-of-violence-film-review_27.html


Pornstar Pandemic
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/07/pornstar-pandemic-film-review-7222020.html


Gundala
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/07/gundala-film-review-7222020.html


Amulet
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/07/amulet-film-review-7222020.html


Fisherman's Friends
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/07/fishermans-friends-film-review-7212020.html


The Rental
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/07/the-rental-film-review-7212020.html


Getting It
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/07/getting-it-film-review-7132020.html


Enter The Fat Dragon
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/07/enter-fat-dragon-film-review-722020.html


John Lewis - Good Trouble
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/07/john-lewis-good-trouble-film-review.html


Ingenium
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/06/ingenium-film-review-6262020.html


Float Like A Butterfly
https://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/06/float-like-butterfly-film-review-6262020.html


Disclosure
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/06/disclosure-film-review-june-26-2020.html


A Thousand Miles Behind
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/06/a-thousand-miles-behind-film-review.html


This Teacher
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/06/this-teacher-film-review-642020.html


Snaeland
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/06/snaeland-film-review-642020.html


Arkansas
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/05/arkansas-film-review-5182020.html


Samurai Marathon
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/05/samurai-marathon-film-review-5162020.html


Abe
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/05/abe-film-review-5152020.html


Ovid And The Art Of Love
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/05/ovid-and-art-of-love-film-review-5132020.html


True History Of The Kelly Gang
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/05/true-history-of-kelly-gang-film-review.html


The Wretched
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-wretched-film-review-562020.html


Eve
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/05/eve-movie-review-532020.html


Union Bridge
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/04/union-bridge-review-vod-release-may-19.html


Penance Lane
http://eclecticartswa.blogspot.com/2020/04/penance-lane-review-4172020.html


DEAD Film Review September 23, 2020



Dead

Reviewed: 9/23/2020
1091 Pictures (Country of Origin: New Zealand)
Rating: 4 / 5


Virtual Screenings through The Grand Illusion Cinema (Seattle, WA): 9/25/2020 - 10/15/2020
Buy Tickets Here!


(1091 Pictures)



The mix of comedy and horror isn’t anything new. When it hits all the right notes, it can be magical. When it misses a few notes, it can be a goofy mess.


I’m delighted to say that, “Dead” hits most of the right notes.


An independent release from New Zealand, “Dead” follows young Marbles - a pothead that can see the dead/ghosts. Policeman Tagg who recently died on the job is looking for a serial killer. Between the two - that kicks off the premise of the film and the adventures begin.



(1091 Pictures)



What I really liked about this film is that it explored the chasm of loss and grief. It is a universal topic that has been covered for decades. But, in, “Dead” the topic really hits home. How far would you go to keep your loved one alive? What would you do if there was a possibility to bring them back to you? Grief is such a powerful emotion that when faced with a loss of enormous magnitude, many people would do almost anything to have their loved ones back. The serious scenes worked very well and that added an emotional weight to, “Dead” that quite frankly I wasn’t expecting.


The humor is there as well and the levity keeps a nice balance with the serious aspect of the film. I enjoyed seeing three actors from the webseries, “Life Is Easy” - two as characters in the film and one as a cameo in the dance sequence at the end of the film (hi Cole!).



(1091 Pictures)



While some fans love this genre, I’m somewhere in the middle. However, if more films like, “Dead” are released, you can count me in on joining the heavy fan side of this genre.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:   Social Media Links Here!


TRAILER



THE LEGEND OF TOMIRIS Film Review September 23, 2020


The Legend of Tomiris

Reviewed: 9/23/2020
Well Go USA
Rating: 4.5  / 5

Available on Blu Ray Combo Pack, DVD, and Digital - 9/29/2020

(Well Go USA)


While there have been many historical epic films based on true events, I have not reviewed any related to the Massagetae and the uniting of the Scythian/Saka tribes under Queen Tomiris.


“The Legend of Tomiris” is a compelling drama with enough action scenes to put the audience right in the middle of the storyline. The personal tragedy the young Tomiris suffers and her will to not only survive but to return to her people is gripping cinema.


Almira Tursyn plays the adult Tomiris and is captivating from the moment she appears on screen in her first scene. She is vulnerable yet strong, motherly yet fierce. Her portrayal of Queen Tomiris is exceptional and worth the price of admission alone.



(Well Go USA)



Director Akan Satayev has crafted a well told story that focuses more on the drama than the action. Sometimes with historical dramas, the wars take over and the characters are left unfinished. That is not the case with, “The Legend of Tomiris”. We get to see the young, the teen, and the adult version of Queen Tomiris - and the effects of the all powerful Persian empire at the time.


The action sequences are top notch - particularly the last battle in the film. The strategy implemented by Queen Tomiris and the many casualties really added to the emotional weight of the battle.



(Well Go USA)



I would love to see a sequel to this film - to see how Queen Tomiris continued to rule her kingdom and the inevitable issues with ruling such a vast land. Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


TRAILER



Tuesday, September 22, 2020

RIALTO Film Review September 22, 2020


Rialto


Reviewed: 9/22/2020
Breaking Glass Pictures
Rating: 4 / 5

Available virtually at:

Laemmle Virtual Cinema : https://www.laemmle.com/film/rialto

The Cleveland Institute of Art - Cinematheque:  https://watch.eventive.org/rialto/play/5f5fcbe344420c005be36217


Available on VOD and DVD 10/20/2020


(Breaking Glass Pictures)



The downfall of a person is never easy to watch, in film or in real life. In the film, “Rialto”, we watch a man lost, directionless, always saying “sorry” to the people in his life, and searching for acceptance in the most unlikely place.


Colm (played brilliantly by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) is a 46 year old man, husband, and father. Working a good job at the docks since he was sixteen years old, his life has stagnated. The death of his father (who wasn’t the best role model), his mother grieving, and his sister distant, Colm finds solace in the arms of 19 year old Jay (played by Tom Glynn-Carney), a young lad that works as a male prostitute.


Colm can’t bring himself to tell his wife, who is forced to watch her husband disintegrate for reasons unknown to her. His relationship with his daughter is strong but his son has grown spiteful of his old man.



(Courtesy Breaking Glass Pictures)



“Rialto” is an exchange of services but there is much more meaning to the title within the context of the film. Colm clearly has something missing in his life, a void that he can’t seem to fill. Instead of confiding in his wife about where his head is at, he pushes her away. Jay is a neutral third party, someone he can talk to, even though it’s strictly business for Jay.


The film is compelling from beginning to end. Tom Vaughan-Lawlor is so lost in the character of Colm, it is just amazing to watch as his character struggles from scene to scene to make sense of his life and his choices. An exceptional performance.


Tom Glynn-Carney also gives a top notch performance as Jay. He is the average young man trying to make things right with his girlfriend and their baby. He has no support system so he does what he can to survive. But, he also shows compassion and understanding to Colm, as a provider of services.


“Rialto” is a film that tackles an intense subject with courage and leaves the audience ready to discuss it once the lights go up.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


TRAILER


Breaking Glass Pictures Official Site

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

EXTRA INNINGS Film Review September 15, 2020


Extra Innings

Reviewed: 9/15/2020
Breaking Glass Pictures
Rating: 3.5 / 5



(Breaking Glass Pictures)



I love a good sports based film. I think in 2020, with the professional sports world modified due to the pandemic, releasing a film about baseball is more than good timing.


“Extra Innings” is a film based on true events. David Sabah is from a devout Syrian Jewish family. He has three siblings - Morris who has health issues (diagnosed with schizophrenia), Vivian who is very much the black sheep of the family, and Rita his other sister that follows the family values.


David is torn between his love for baseball and his family’s expectations. This theme runs throughout the film and is easily identifiable for many viewers who can relate to his struggle.



(Extra Innings - Breaking Glass Pictures)



Directed and written by Albert Dabah (he also plays David’s father in the film), the film is very much a drama with baseball the secondary theme. The storytelling is right on point and this could easily be a play. I enjoyed the exploration of themes within the family dynamic and how David copes with them.


The performances from all of the cast members were a highlight for sure. No weak links whatsoever.


With all that it has going for it, I do have to say I found the film a bit of a downer. Tragedy strikes David’s family not once, but twice. The lack of support from his family to pursue his baseball dreams (other than Vivian) weighs down the narrative to a point where it becomes sad.


The ending seemed very forced. I think a few scenes depicting the family members coming to terms with their son's aspirations would have helped with the build up to the last scene in the film.


“Extra Innings” is definitely done well, don’t get me wrong. I just went into it thinking it was going to be a feel good film and instead it is a serious drama about a young man’s life, tragedy, and his struggles to find acceptance within his family.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links HERE!


TRAILER



ALONE Film Review September 15, 2020


Alone

Reviewed: 9/15/2020
Magnet Releasing
Rating: 4 / 5

ALONE Opens In Theaters and On Demand September 18th!


(ALONE a Magnet release)



The premise of thriller, “Alone” sounds familiar but the story takes turns that are unique. A widow has her U-Haul packed up and is moving. She is harassed by a stranger on her journey who eventually kidnaps her and holds her in a remote cabin in the woods of the Pacific Northwest.


The story is really a two character play. Jessica (played by Jules Willcox) and her captor (played by Marc Menchaca). A disturbing game of cat and mouse that, without giving things away, expands far beyond the plot.


I was hooked by the film from the get go. The plot twists were very effective and kept things from venturing into familiar thriller territory. When I expected certain things to happen, they didn’t, which pleasantly surprised me.



(Jules Wilcox and Marc Menchaca in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.)



Jules Willcox put on a multi-layered performance. From the grieving widow, she displayed vulnerability, sadness, but with realism and caution. When Marc’s character approaches her vehicle to apologize for his earlier car antics, she is not naive and welcoming. Her guard is up and it just adds to the impact when she eventually awakens in the basement of his cabin. She also shows her will and determination to survive throughout the film. Her captivating performance can be added to the list of strong female characters in cinema.


Marc Menchaca also creates a character that is creepy but not overly so. His background in the film (no spoilers) just adds to the unnerving quality of his character. The old adage your hero is only as strong as your villain definitely applies here. Marc goes toe to toe with Jules and this is where “Alone” sets itself apart from the average thriller.



(Jules Willcox in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.)



The screenplay is smart. Several times I thought to myself, “why doesn’t the character do this” and then two seconds later, the character did exactly what made sense to me.


Overall, “Alone” is a thriller that will entertain the audience from start to finish. Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links HERE!


TRAILER




Tuesday, September 1, 2020

EVIL BOY Film Review September 1, 2020



Evil Boy

Reviewed: 8/28/2020
Well Go USA

Rating: 3.5 / 5

EVIL BOY hits DVD & digital on Tuesday, September 8th!

(All assets provided by Well Go USA)



The use of children and religious elements has been a common theme in horror films over the years. “Evil Boy” is more than the title would lead one to believe.


A couple have been grieving over the loss of their son who was actually never found. They look into fostering or adopting another child from an orphanage. The child is unusual to say the least and the story unfolds from there.


The suspension of disbelief comes into play as one would wonder why the couple (the wife in particular) would want to adopt this particular child when the orphanage is full of other children that don’t display odd behaviors. But, as you watch the film, you’ll begin to understand why she gravitates toward this child. The husband is more realistic which was refreshing for a change. But, eventually, the roles switch between his wife not wanting to be left alone with the child and the husband getting attached to him.



(All assets provided by Well Go USA)


“Evil Boy” has it’s creepy moments for sure. The CGI works for the most part (except for two moments where it looked very rushed) and the boy/child actor (played by two different actors) was very good.


The realism from the couple added to the emotional weight of the film which, again, was nice to see. I was ready for the head in the sand type of couple but that’s not the case here for the most part.


The reasoning behind the connection between the boy and the couple adds a layer that makes it more believable than how the film starts out. I think the title “Evil Boy” is more like a translation - when it could use a better title that isn’t so obvious. 



(All assets provided by Well Go USA)
  

Overall, not a bad entry into the child/religion horror arena.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!







MUSICAL COMEDY WHORE Film Review September 1, 2020



Musical Comedy Whore

Reviewed: 8/31/2020
Breaking Glass Pictures

Rating: 3.5 / 5




(All asset provided by Breaking Glass Pictures)



The one person show is always an interesting exploration for the artist. In this case David Pevsner lets it all hang out with his personal story of identity as a gay youth, as an openly gay man, and his theatre career over the years.


“Musical Comedy Whore” uses song and narration to tell Pevsner’s real-life stories about relationships, gay sex exploration, working as an escort to pay the bills, and his own self discovery of owning everything he has done in his past, good and bad.


The one person show was performed in front of a live audience and recorded as such. With only a piano accompaniment, the film is focused on Pevsner and he is a captivating performer and songwriter. 



(All assets provided by Breaking Glass Pictures)
  


I chuckled at parts but I did not find it overly funny. If anything, I found it an interesting airing of a performer's ups and downs over his personal life and career. Sex is brought up time and time again but it serves a purpose - of Pevsner trying to find and even justify his body image issues when he was younger, and the power of sexual control.


I admire any artist that can put together a one person show like this that is raw and entertaining at the same time. “Musical Comedy Whore” may not be for everybody but it is a well done performance.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!



TRAILER





THE OWNERS Film Review September 1, 2020



The Owners

Reviewed: 8/25/2020
RLJE Entertainment
Rating: 4 / 5

IN THEATERS, ON DEMAND AND DIGITAL: September 4, 2020






“The Owners” starts off innocently enough. An elderly British couple, a group of young thieves looking to make an easy score, and a safe inside the home of the couple. What transpires goes from bad to worse for the young thieves as a wicked game of cat and mouse erupts in this well done thriller.


There are absolutely distinct horror elements to this film. The graininess and the suffocating feel as the characters descend further and further into the trap of the elderly couple is sickening to watch (in a good way).



((L-R) Ian Kenny as Nathan and Rita Tushingham as Ellen Huggins in the thriller, THE OWNERS, a RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.)



The performances of Sylvester McCoy (Dr. Huggins) and Rita Tushingham (Ellen Huggins) are marvelous. As master actors they bring nuanced yet brilliantly evil tidings to the proceedings from start to finish.


Maisie Williams (Mary) plays the heroine that is innocent yet tough in the film. Known for her work in “Game of Thrones”, Maisie keeps the back and forth between good and evil front and center.


The ending and the epilogue were delightfully eerie reminders that familiar elements in a film can still yield creative and interesting results.



(Maisie Williams as Mary in the thriller, THE OWNERS, a RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.)



“The Owners” hits many of the right buttons for a thriller/horror film. I’m not too keen on the title (based on a graphic novel) but the film itself definitely entertains and that’s what’s important.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!



TRAILER